Strengthening the social inclusion of diverse consumers in the marketplace – A case study

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Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
School of Business | Master's thesis
Date
2022
Major/Subject
Mcode
Degree programme
Creative Sustainability
Language
en
Pages
94+ 10
Series
Abstract
In the current business environment, the diversity of consumers, globalization and social tensions are growing the pressures for companies to consider these issues. Therefore, business researchers and practitioners have started to pay more attention to how companies could strengthen the social inclusion of all consumers and leverage the potential of multicultural diversity. Individuals search for cues about whether they are accepted and appreciated by others from the marketing of companies; therefore, the companies’ marketing actions affect the experiences of social inclusion in the marketplace. Also, consumers who don’t feel socially included by a company might perform unwanted actions towards the company. Despite the growing academic attention to diversity and inclusion issues, the academic marketing literature on such themes remains scarce. An under-research area is especially the factors that influence the social inclusion of consumers. Therefore, this thesis examines how the case company can strengthen the social inclusion of diverse consumers in the marketplace of emollient creams in Finland. The theoretical framework was developed by reviewing and combining the literature on diversity, social inclusion, multicultural marketplaces, diversity and inclusion engaged marketing (DIEM), diversity and inclusion competency and organizational diversity and inclusion. The empirical data of this qualitative descriptive case study consists of 13 semi-structured interviews with six consumers, three case company employees, two expert participants and two pharmacists. This thesis’s findings support the notion that a company can strengthen the social inclusion of diverse consumers through DIEM. However, the study argues that not all marketing tools are as essential to strengthening the social inclusion of diverse consumers in all contexts and that different marketing actions impact different dimensions of social inclusion. In the context of this thesis, especially diverse representation in marketing communications, wide product offering, product usability, gender-neutral package and accessible product information was recognized as crucial. In addition, an interesting finding is that the internal diversity and inclusion of a company enable it to carry out DIEM and, therefore, support the social inclusion of consumers. In contrast, the existing literature has only emphasized the marketing team’s diversity and inclusion. The study agrees with previous literature about the importance of continuous diversity and inclusion competency development. This thesis contributes to the existing marketing literature by providing an understanding of how marketing actions can be used to strengthen the social inclusion of diverse consumers in the marketplace and how this is contextual. Also, the thesis provides knowledge about a company’s internal factors and capabilities that enable carrying out DIEM. An interesting notion and avenue for future research is the relationship between a company’s organizational diversity and inclusion and its competence to strengthen social inclusion in the marketplace. For the case company, this thesis gives information about practical marketing actions and internal activities that enable it to strengthen the social inclusion of diverse consumers in the marketplace of emollient creams in Finland.
Description
Thesis advisor
Lankoski, Leena
Keywords
diversity and inclusion, consumer diversity, DIEM, multicultural marketplace
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